Because Popeye is Catholic

Posted by Webster 
Earlier I wrote that Catholicism is a full-time job, compared with the Protestant observance of my youth. A mind is a hard thing to shut off, and mine has come up with more analogies. I will be accused of churlish negativity by my Protestant brothers, but as Frank and Farragut would say, “Damn the torpedoes!

1. Catholicism is Popeye, Protestantism Bluto. Let’s face it: Whatever Luther’s original intent, in the final analysis the Protestant Reformation was a Rebellion, a Revolt, and not a Reformation, as Ferde loves pointing out. The Reformation, which was needed, took shape at the Council of Trent and remains a work in progress. Meanwhile, Protestants’ total identity is about being against the Catholic Church and its perceived abuses. That revolt is still intact, as one Protestant sect rebels against another and the whole human experiment fractures into crazy glass.

Likewise, Bluto’s only reason for being is to destroy Popeye. But Popeye has spinach (the Eucharist) and Olive Oyl (the Blessed Mother).

2. Catholic is chess, Protestant is checkers. Catholic means messy, complex, ambiguous; it is as wild and weird as a Gothic cathedral crawling with gargoyles. Protestant is a one-way road to heaven: do not pass Rome, do not collect $200 in indulgences; it is straight as a New England church spire. In checkers, movement is only along diagonals and the end game is total destruction of the enemy force. In chess, movement is every which way, and checkmate is an elegant resolution of conflict in which the king resigns, he is not exterminated. Chess has knights and bishops, checkers only kings.

3. Catholicism is a monkey house, Protestantism is a zoo. I’m not totally sure where to go with this one, but you just have to hang out in a Catholic parish for a while to discover that we are a wacky bunch. Protestants probably have their share of wacky, though they seem pretty straitlaced to me. But one thing you can say about Protestants: They’ve got every animal in the known world, and all in separate cages. 

4. Catholicism is a deluxe twenty-volume encyclopedia, Protestantism a paperback dictionary. Every time I watch “The Journey Home” on EWTN, Marcus Grodi’s series of interviews with converts, I have to listen ad nauseam to how much Protestants know about the Bible. Given that it’s the only book they have to know, this no longer impresses me. Try stacking the Bible up against the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the collected writings of the Early Fathers, the complete works of Augustine and Aquinas, Pascal’s Pensées, Butler’s Lives of the Saints, anything by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, . . . and the Bible.

I grant that there have been great intellects among the ranks of Protestant theologians. I studied (well, I read) bits of Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann, and Paul Tillich in boarding school, and I can’t tell you bupkis about any of them. But I felt, while reading them, that each was cooking up his own recipe with hand-picked ingredients. I can read any Catholic theologian and know that his or her work is a bud on a two-thousand-year rose bush, which taken as a whole is vast, colorful, and aromatic.

5. Catholicism is The Fellowship of the Ring, Protestantism is Harry Potter. Give me a Bible and a moment of inspiration, and I can be a Protestant with a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” The Protestant movement is full of lonely wizards: Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Smith—each breaking away from his forebears and setting up business in a storefront. A Protestant means an individual in direct relationship with the Almighty, no intercessors needed, thank you.

Meanwhile, Catholics function well in groups, especially if the groups include wizards, elves, hobbits, assorted bearded men and willowy women, tree-like things called ents, and a bunch of other weird, but loyal allies. And they believe in obedience to higher authority (Gandalf, Aragorn). I have never ever had the same sense of belonging that I have in the Catholic Church—an assortment of oddities my mother never warned me about. And I am quite comfortable, thank you, heeding the words of my pope and my pastor.

Give me time and I’ll come up with more analogies. But dinner’s almost ready, Marian has just made a killer guacamole, and she returns to school in North Carolina tomorrow. So TTFN. Which makes me think that maybe Catholicism is Tigger, Protestantism Tony the Tiger. But I’ll work on that one . . .

  • jan

    Oh, this is a brilliant piece of writing — and funny!

  • Webster Bull

    I read it to Katie at dinner, and she thinks I'm crazier than ever! :-)

  • Miss Linda

    I am printing this out and taking this with me to Mass tomorrow morning. There are a couple of friends there who will absolutely love this. I agree with Jan–this is brilliant and quite funny!

  • Frank

    This is a great post Webster and you and I could probably go on and on with these analogies. Some would argue that you are making this "too much work" but if you are in love, doesn't that take work if it is to survive? Benign neglect doesn't have a very good track record where relationships are concerned.

  • Warren Jewell

    Yep, you could probably write a very clever comparative apologetical work out of such comparative analogies.The premier analogies, however, are: First, Catholicism is Mary, Mother of God and given to us as our Mother; Protestants are, well, not even 'Fathers'.Second, Catholicism is Peter on now to Benedict, sixteenth by that name; Protestants have one storefront and modified-hangar pastor after another, rivalling change-of-weather but with loss of 'climate'.Third, Catholicism is to feel the gauntlet in the will of God gloved always in His love; Protestantism seems to 'talk' the will but 'walk' the feel-good and material prosperity, more and more.Fourth, Catholicism has Webster and Frank; Protestants are LOSERS, here. As aside, Protestants do handle their 'sola scriptura' well, however limited their scope is. Further aside, if you're crazy, then all of us should lose a bit of our sanity in just the same ways.

  • Webster Bull

    Warren, Don't you think point #4 should have been #1! LOL.Thanks, Chicago! And good points too.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with your Protestant brothers who accuse you of churlish negativity. This article is not funny, but is an ugly example of why disunity occurs between Catholic Christians and Protestant Christians. Wouldn't it be more productive to write articles following the advice quoted on the right side of this page in "More words to blog by" – Eph. 4:29-32 ???

  • Amy Welborn

    Okay, "Given that it’s the only book they have to know, this no longer impresses me." made me laugh *way* too loudly….

  • Ruth Ann

    You're definitely on a roll! I enjoyed this post very much.

  • jan

    Reason number 1,847 to be Catholic: we have a better sense of humor…

  • Ferde

    To Anon 10:13 PM: Webster's post is 'churlish negativity' to you because you are not conversant with the truth. You do not say he is wrong on any point he makes. You simply oppose him because you see the truth in what he says, you see yourself in that truth and you don't accept it. It's called having your head in the sand.Webster, I've never heard it said better. Good job!

  • Deacon Paul Emerson

    Catholcism is oneness, and love, equality and hope, peace and good-will toward ALL… Your post is not funny but sad and I hope you find the love in your heart to retract what you've said to offend many great Christians of all demoninations…

  • Jeff Miller

    There is one other reason Popeye is Catholic. If you ever see the Chicken restaurant called Popeye's you see the word spells Pope Yes.

  • Pablo

    Anonymous writes, …is an ugly example of why disunity occurs between Catholic Christians and Protestant Christians…I disagree.Having attended many different Protestant Churches of various denominations over the years and listened to a great deal of anti-Catholic preaching, I must write that this is rather humorous….comparatively of course.The only Protestant Church that never condemned or belittled the RCC was…The Mormons

  • Soutenus

    Simply wonderful! If it wasn't 1:30 in the morning I would rouse my darling husband and read it to him RIGHT NOW. As it is "the wee hours of the morning" and way past my bedtime I am saving it for breakfast.You write with wit, candor and sensitivity. Smiling from ear to ear. Blessings!Soutenus

  • Webster Bull

    First reply at 4:30 am, before driving Marian to airport:Thanks to all for your comments, pro and con. I blush at the pros and take on the cons, here–There are two cons so far, from "Anonymous" and "Deacon Paul" (whom I will do the honor of assuming Catholic). The two agree that the post is slanderous (the brunt of Eph 4:29-32) and offensive to non-Catholic Christians. I take that charge seriously. However, I reject it on three counts:1. This is a case of equal-opportunity humor. I call Catholicism "messy, complex, ambiguous." I call Catholics monkeys. I compare the Virgin Mary with Olive Oyl and the Eucharist with Popeye's spinach. I am waiting for a reprimand from the Vatican as I write….2. "Slander" (the word taken from Ephesians) is legally like libel; that is, it does not offend if it is the truth. (Back me up here, EPG.) And in what is perhaps overly self-absorbed wordplay (I am always guilty of that) I think all will agree that there are truths buried here. (a) That Protestantism is fundamentally a revolt against Rome and that like all things that are "anti" at their core, it tends to become anti-itself and fracture. (b) That this fracturing has left all the animals "in separate cages." The names on the cages, of course, are Lutheran, Calvinist, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational, and all the many variants and alternatives, not to mention the dozens of "new" churches opened in 2009. (c) That a primary reason for this fracturing is sola scriptura, relying on that paperback dictionary, instead of 2000 years of received tradition, what GK Chesterton calls the "democracy of the dead." (d) That another reason is P'ism's rejection of apostolic succession and the primacy of the Bishop of Rome (Gandalf, Aragorn). Said otherwise, P'ism's proud reliance on individual revelation.3. Choosing to be Catholic (saying every day YIM Catholic, as Frank and I do, proudly, sometimes idiotically, but usually faithfully) implies necessarily saying no to the Protestant Reformation or Revolt or Experiment. Saying yes to anything means saying no to something else (this one woman, Katie, versus all other women, and so on). So there is a "no, thank you, Mr. Luther" embedded in EVERY post, not just this one. Go back and see. As I wrote elsewhere, I have tasted the competition. Which leads to another analogy: Catholic is Starbucks, Protestant is Instant Maxwell House.Please note that I do not include among MY reasons, though other commenters have, (4) the 490 years of rabid, nasty anti-Catholicism that have followed Luther's Theses. Ever heard of martyrs? Ever heard of the Know-Nothings? My post, at least, is not a case of getting back at 'em for 500 years of their own nastiness. In the end, it's meant to be good clean fun in the service of truth and MY faith. Taking for my hero a weird little sailor with a squeaky voice–but oh, those forearms!

  • Anonymous

    One of your best yet! I wonder if there is an age appropriate way to offer a condensed version of this to your fourth graders? They can experience the "monkey cage" of CCD for one hour a week, but are immersed in the "zoo" of public school for the remainder. I left the security of Parochial school after grade 4 and I remember feeling an odd combination of pride and anxiety on Ash Wednesday in 5th grade, when I stood out like a sore thumb… S.

  • jan

    Pablo – I don't know if you are Catholic or Mormon, but I must vociferously disagree with you. From many former Mormons I've spoken with, seeing as how I live among them, they won't hesitate to say that the Catholic Church is indeed the 'whore of Babylon,' and that preaching against the Church occurs all the time. Second, I don't think they actually qualify as a 'protestant' religion because they are a whole, unique sect – there is nothing in their doctrine that resembles mainline protestantism. God Bless.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, I agree with your points and LOVE that I am Catholic… there IS one thing though…. we must never underestimate the value of a personal relationship with Him. The Church helps us in VARIOUS ways on that path, but ultimately without our love of and for Him, our faith in Him, it tends to get hollow. Reiterating – am not against what you said, just saying that a personal, experiencing relationship with Jesus is hugely important. And it doesnt matter how you get there – through and with the Saints, Mother Mary, the Eucharist, or anything the Church rightfully offers.

  • Webster Bull

    Anonymous 10:37 — Very good point well taken. Of course, I cannot look into anyone's heart or mind on this question, but my personal experience has made me skeptical. In particular, I have an older evangelical friend with 4 children, 15 or so grandchildren, and already some great-grands who told me, without blinking, that each of his descendants, and their spouses, had a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ." And I suspect this is not uncommon in some circles. I will only add that, as I work to nurture a true and personal connection of any sort with Jesus (and I am still working on that, including an hour each weekday at Adoration) I'm not sure how a family relying on scripture alone can be so "successful" in this arena. Such words about a "personal relationship" may be taken in vain now and then, it seems to me. Though, again, I don't have the vision to make a definitive judgment here and finally am brought up short by your even-handed comment.

  • Judy Bowman

    What a funny and poignant look at ourselves and our protestant brothers and sisters. I'm a convert to the Catholic Church of some 33 years now, and remember well so many of the "cages" that comprised my previous churches. I love the monkey house and the rich and pungent odor of a living faith, all of us drawn to the big tent of Catholicism despite of and because of our rich and vibrant differences. Amen!

  • Amy R

    Hey,I LOVE this! My 19yo daughter loves it too!Thanks!

  • EPG

    Webster — This was a great post, and, if it hit a few nerves, that may be because at times (like all good humor) it hit uncomfortably close to the truth.But, as an Anglican, I am in no position to throw a lot of stones — just a quick look at history demonstrates that.Which makes me wonder — If Protestantism is "Harry Potter," and Catholicism is LOTR, what _is_ Anglicanism?

  • Nick

    You would dare compare your separated brothers as your enemy? Christ Himself did not call us enemies when we were, but died for our sake: Do the same: Love our separated brethern!

  • Webster Bull

    EPG, Haven't read the Narnia books but maybe something from that world, since Lewis was "ABC" (all but Catholic)??

  • Webster Bull

    Nick, Our separated brethren left home. I didn't kick them out. But I'll be there at the door with open arms when they come home.

  • Frank

    Regarding a "personal relationship" with Christ:Ahem, we "feed" on Him whenever we partake of the Eucharist. "I in you and you in Me." It doesn't get more personal than that!Let me get Biblical…"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." -John 15:4

  • EPG

    I thought about Narnia as well, but it doesn't really fit, as it is probably about as catholic as LOTR. BTW, I think it is hysterical that many (including me) can think of C.S. Lewis as all but Catholic, while, at the same time, the major collection of his papers and a major institute attached to his name are at Wheaton College (the Notre Dame of the evangelicals). Call it the power of "mere" Christianity.

  • Enbrethiliel

    +JMJ+I love this post! It's humorous, quirky and thoughtful. I can't wait to hear how the Tigger/Tony the Tiger analogy works out.

  • Anonymous

    I thoroughly enjoyed this blog, but must contend with one generalization."Meanwhile, Protestants' total identity is about being against the Catholic Church and its perceived abuses."I assume the author knows this is untrue, but chose to write it anyway. I am just curious as to why. I was raised in protestant churches and under protestant doctrine, but after coming of age the whole concept of being 'against the Catholic Church' left me (while I remain a member of a doctrinaly protestant church). My identity is in Christ, not in any church (ideally, I am still human after all). There are many among protestant churches that believe the same as I do, I just feel this generalization was a bit too pointed.Perhaps, "Meanwhile, many Protestants' total identity…" would have suited my fancy better. Simply one humble opinion.God bless.

  • Webster Bull

    Anonymous, 12:44, you are correct. Loose verbiage, I admit. I might better have said that Protestantism's entire raison d'etre at the beginning was a move away from the Catholic Church and its abuses. And that some Protestants probably still see it that way. Loose lips sink bloggers! :-)

  • James

    I've got to admit I was taken back a bit by your post. I didn't expect to find you tossing handgrenades on here but then we come from different perspectives on this topic and if anybody's earned the right to throw a few it's you and your fellow RCIA's. At least there isn't any of the bile and venom thats generally directed at us. I have some strong ideas and opinions about Catholicism vs non Catholicism but for me ultimately it always seems to boil down to the same thing: live and let live. Perhaps that's something of a cop out but it's not as easy as it sounds.


    Totally awesome post today!! My laptop had a 'nervous breakdown', and being on vacation, I actually drove into the office — just for my 'daily dose' of YIMC. I found I have about seven more posts to read from the past few days — but that will have to wait until my return.. Just wanted to duck into this 'virtual church community' to offer best wishes and blessings to Webster, Frank and the blog followers for a happy and healthy 2010. Pax Christi.

  • Shannon

    Two more for your list:The first is stolen from a Garrison Keillor monologue, the Lutheran pastor and his wife in Rome, over coffee. She says, "How is it the Catholics have the Sistine Chapel and we have 'The Praying Hands'?"Second, a riff at least 15 years old saying PCs were Protestant, Macs were Catholic.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is pretty clever, Webster, and pretty insightful in a lot of ways. I love the connections you make between the spiritual and the every day. But I would agree with those who said it was not completely in line with the principles laid out in Ephesians 4:29-32, nor in what St. Francis de Sales says in "Philothea" (Introduction to the Devout Life), specifically Section III, Chapters 27-30. Ferde, as my old professor Dr. Hahn taught me, it is not enough just to preach the truth – the truth must be spoken in love. And the idea that "it is an act of charity to speak the truth to my brother" is only a half-truth, and is often used as a copout. One can sometimes speak the truth not out of love for one's neighbour and for his good (which is why we sometimes do not care to word things in such a way so as to convince them or even if we hurt them by our tone or why we are more concerned about winning an argument), but sometimes as a way to beat them up and thus exalt ourselves for our adherence to Catholic truth.Webster, think for a moment about how you would react if you heard this as a Protestant? Or how some of your beloved Protestant family members or friends or acquaintances would react? Chances are, you had some stubborn Protestants in mind when you wrote this, not some of the ones you are fond of and respect. Then go back and change a few words here and there, the tone, etc., according to that paradigm, with that audience in mind. I think the people you are trying to persuade would be more receptive then. I would like to remind you of something St. Francis de Sales just suggested to me as I read him tonight: "discreetly remind those present that those who do not sin owe that solely to God's grace" (page 233). This includes the sin of heresy. Wade St. Onge

  • Webster Bull

    Thanks, Wade, for a reply both thoughtful and balanced, two qualities I may have lost sight of a few times in the post. I will follow your suggestion and go back through it.

  • Anonymous

    My friends and I had a facebook conversation about this, and we tend to disagree with you on Harry Potter.One participant noted "Harry's own ability to fight Voldemort is bequeathed to him by his mother (ostensibly a more Catholic than Protestant vision of the relationship between the Virgin Mary and Jesus). Also, this image is one which speaks of an infant baptism and a faith which Harry has to grow in to. Harry makes no conscious choice to be what he is, but rather it is bequeathed to him via his parents' love and faith."We also discussed the fourth book where Harry depends on something like a communion of saints or cloud of witnesses – people who have gone before, including his parents – to beat Voldemort. The authority of Dumbledore – presumably a celibate – is pervasive. And Harry isn't a go-it-aloner: he gets a Patronus and a godfather to aid him. Especially late in the series he depends on his friends – a theme from the very beginning is that Harry can't do much without them. Each character has something unique to add to the story; they aren't all carbon copies of each other. It's more of a monkey cage than a zoo, as you say. The world of Harry Potter is ripe with medieval imagery. And, of course, the Weasleys are family that is unusually large for their economic situation. Altogether, I don't really think Harry Potter belongs to the sterile Protestant world you speak of.

  • Anonymous

    Just stumbled onto your blog today and I love it! Loved the Popeye analogy! Congrats to you on your conversion – made mine in '08 and was the best thing I ever did!

  • Mike McLaren

    Although I got some good laughs from your post, it reminded me of what a wise old priest told me once. Because the Catholic Church is the one true Christian church, we have to always guard against the sin of pride.You also reminded me of what Dale Ahlquist once said (he may have been quoting GKC), "The Catholic Church is so much bigger on the inside than the outside". I guess our challenge is how do we get our non Catholic Christian brothers and sisters to take a peak inside.

  • Jon

    I have to make a comment about – " I have to listen ad nauseam to how much Protestants know about the Bible." I was raised in the home of my grandparents. My grandfather was a Baptist deacon-evangelist and pastored a small mission church. I married a cradle Catholic and began attending mass with her, secure in my superior protestant knowledge of the Bible. This was when the mass began to be in English. It soon struck me that there is more scripture quoted in one Sunday mass than in a month of Protestant Sunday sermons. Catholics don't realize how much scripture they know. The readings, prayers, responses are from the Bible. Anyway, I became Catholic 6 years after I married. I like it.

  • Anonymous

    "Love understands all and forgives all".Lesley.

  • Webster Bull

    Dear Lesley, Thank you! After this post received more comments than any other recent post (most of them positive) and more criticism (most of it fair), I needed to hear that! Happy New Year! :-)

  • Turgonian

    Your name go in book — Facebook, to be precise.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree with basically the entire post. The Saints, Mary, David, Ruth, Elijah and etc. were all humans that were used by God and they obeyed him and at times some of them fell flat on their faces, but God picked them back up. God sent Jesus on the earth to die for our sins and him alone is all we need to have a direct relationship with God. Why pray to saints and Mary when they are merely imperfect humans, that sinned just as you and I when we can pray to the Son of God, who is blameless. It seems to me that you have a chip on your shoulder about protestants. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 Martin Luther realized that faith is the only way you can be saved, and not by the amount of good things you do. So indulgences are not necessary. Christian means follower of Christ and he is the ONLY one I follow. I don't follow the pope, because he is only human. Jesus saved me, not him. Open your eyes and realize that everyone who believes that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose again 3 days later, is your fellow brother or sister in Christ. I do not need the Catholic church to be a Christian. All I need is Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit and the Bible, the word of God.I know I am going to heaven and praying to the saints and Mary can't save you and can't answer your prayers, only Jesus can. For the person who said Mormons were protestants couldn't be farther from the truth, it is an entirely different religion.

  • Webster Bull

    Dear latest anonymous,This has been my most successful and most controversial post. (In blogging, those tend to be synonymous!) I am not a theologian. I am no good at apologetics. (But wait until I sic Ferde on you. . . .). I am a committed Catholic, and as such, this is how I see it, simply and directly–The Church: The Catholic Church you claim not to need was created by your Jesus 2000 years ago. Upon this Rock it was created and upon this Rock it stands today. The Saints: My conversion experience was hastened by the saints. I do not worship the saints. I seldom pray to the saints, except St. Joseph, because he is powerful. But the saints tell me something important: This was true, this worked for them–what should it not be true and work for me? So I am a Catholic.That's my simple case. Despite a fancy education, I am not a particularly deep thinker. So I will leave the justification to others. This is my experience, and on this Experience I have built this Blog. Have a good day.

  • Webster Bull

    Added note to latest anonymous,The Pope: Only human, yes indeed, but guided by the Holy Spirit as one in direct Apostolic Succession to Peter, yes also indeed. You don't have to uphold that basic conclusion of your Gospel (though you might wonder at the contradiction). But you have only to read a few writings of Pope Benedict XVI (what have you read of him to be so certain about him?) to understand that he is one of the most erudite, compassionate, and convincing spiritual leaders in modern history. I'll follow him, the way Frank followed his Marine superiors: unto death.

  • Ferde

    Dear Anon-1.9 4;59 AM: Your post is heartfelt and sincere. It's also a re-hash of simplistic protestant excuses. Nice people like to be nice and you've acheived that goal. Sometimes, however, nice people are wrong. You've got that down, too. If you believed in Jesus and His teaching, as you say you do, you'd understand that the Pope is the successor of Peter, the rock on which the Lord built His Church. You'd understand the Holy Eucharist is, indeed, the Body and Blood of Christ, just as He said it is. You'd believe the Holy Spirit leads the Catholic Church to all truth, as John said in Ch. 16, v. 13, and that the Church has the absolute authority, given her by the Lord, to bind and loose on this earth until the end of time. You'd read Matthew 25:31-46, which does not mention faith, and know Luther lead millions into heresy by his 'faith alone' lie.I could go on like this for half a day, but why bother? You're convinced your simple 'me 'n Jesus' faith is what the Bible teaches and that's just too simple for me to handle. God bless you. You'll need it when your time comes.

  • Frank

    Anon-1.9 4:59 AM: I invite you to check in with the "2BFrank" series as I methodically, albeit slowly, post my conversion story over time.Meanwhile, please reflect on the following scripture passages from the Bible,the Word of God which was dutifully and faithfully compiled by the Catholic Church (though your version of the Old Testament is sadly lacking a few books {7, to be precise} that were in the Hebrew Canon when God {in the person of Jesus Christ} walked the earth). Matthew 16:13-20Matthew 18:18Luke 10:16Matthew 28:19-20John 14:16Acts 15 – the 1st Church Council1 Timothy 3:15 – 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 3:61 Corinthians 11:21 Peter 1:252 Peter 3:15-18As Ferde said, I could go on and on and would be glad to point you towards other sources if you desire. If you would like to discuss this further, please utilize the discussion section of our Facebook page, which you can reach at the top of this page.May the Peace of Christ be with you always.

  • stephen

    so this is the culmination of of the catholic intellectual tradition? -disparaging analogies that have no intention of interfacing with reality but instead with the sole intent of reinfocing superficial caricatures of protestantism. it is attitudes like these that keep me from becoming catholic, i do not want do identify myself with those waving a banner of naive catholic triumphalism that is used to irresponsibly alienate earnest believers outside the church. is this post in alignment with the spirit of Christ(who commands us to admit fault and remedy that before accusing others)? does this post take seriously the burden on us to repair a divided church. as HU von Balthasar said "Do we catholics still labor for the unity of the Church with that deadly earnest that tells us our very salvation or damnation depends on it?"

  • Jake

    I agree with Stephen. Of course, as a Protestant, I don't agree with him because he has any special authority, but because his post lines up with scripture (not ALL scripture, just the parts Martin Luther left in).

  • Anonymous

    Webster, I think this is your best post ever. As a cradle Catholic, you're right-we are a motley crew. I kind of like it that way. Because, as Christ said, "I didn't come for the righteous…." Clearly we are not righteous. Is any other Catholic disturbed by the once saved always saved notion? It just seems wrong. Thanks again Webster!

  • Webster Bull

    @Anonymous 2/28, Many thanks and so glad people still rummage through the archives! Once saved, always saved makes no sense to me. As I wrote somewhere, maybe even in this thread (who knows? I've written too much!), I had a very aged client who once told me that all of his four children, all of their spouses, and all of their children (about 16) and all of their spouses "have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ." That's not quite the same as once saved, always saved, or maybe it is? Anyway, it struck me as a preposterous claim.